Institute of Chemical Engineering
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FFG Spin-off Fellowship “NovoSome”: Forget injections, just take a pill!


Getting an injection is a very unpleasant experience – especially for children and also for people with a chronic disease (e.g. diabetes), who have to get an injection several times a day.

Today, the most promising novel drug candidates are peptides, proteins and nucleic acid based active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). These compounds oftentimes come with the drawback of low stability and decreased bioavailability. This is the reason why many novel drugs have to be administered parenteral via syringe, which results in low patient compliance and high costs for public health systems.

We aim to overcome these issues by the encapsulation of drugs in stable ether lipids derived from extremophilic microorganisms. These protective spheres of archaeal lipids, so-called “archaeosomes”, exhibit extraordinary thermal, chemical and enzymatic stability, and can be used for the oral delivery of a wide variety of pharmaceuticals.


Figure 1. Our vision is to replace 20% of all injections by pills



Goals of the project NovoSome are (1) the optimization of the upstream process to generate higher biomass titers and to tailor the lipid composition of the thermoacidophile Sulfolobus acidocaldarius and (2) the encapsulation of model drugs in archaeal ether lipids and the characterization of these archaeosomes in in vitro and ex vivo studies.

The funding from the FFG allow us to further push our technology and to optimize and upscale our production process in order to get to a minimal viable product. More information can be found here. For a short video about our project klick on the link.


Figure 2. Visit from Federal Minister of Education, Science and Research, Dr Rauskala. (from left to right): Minister Rauskala, FFG-GF Egerth, Rektorin Seidler, Oliver Spadiut (Host) and the Fellows Julian Quehenberger, Martin Miltner und Angela Miltner, Copyright: Matthias Heisler



We are currently optimizing the bioreactor cultivation as well as the scaleup.


Figure 3. From strain to an industrial bioprocess: agar plate, shake flask, 5l Fermenter, 15l Fermenter, 60l Fermenter (from left to right)


After harvesting the cells, we need to extract our target product from the biomass via organic solvent extraction.


Figure 4. Extraction by separating funnel, Soxhlet extractor


Formation of liposomes and drug encapsulation is done with microfluidics. Afterwards we test the liposomes in in vitro and ex vivo studies.


Figure 5. NanoAssemblr device from Precision Nanosystems for the formation of liposomes




Open Positions

We are looking for motivated students who want to do a bachelor thesis, master thesis or an internship. Check out our open positions:

MSc thesis: Generation of high-purity archaeal lipids

MSc thesis: Forget injections - just take a pill!

BSc thesis: Literature research liposomes



Assoc. Prof. Dr. Oliver Spadiut

DI Dr. David Wurm

DI Dr. Julian Quehenberger

DI Kerstin Rastädter